The California Assembly has passed legislation to let college athletes make money, setting up a confrontation with the NCAA that could jeopardize the athletic futures of programs at USC, UCLA and Stanford.
The bill would let college athletes hire agents and be paid for the use of their name, image or likeness. And it would stop universities and the NCAA from banning athletes who take the money. The Assembly passed the bill 66-0 on Monday, a few days after the bill got an endorsement from NBA superstar Lebron James, who did not go to college. Universities oppose the bill, and the NCAA has warned the bill could mean California universities would be ineligible for national championships.
The California Senate must take a final vote on the bill by Friday, but ahead of that, we take a look at what the law might mean for student athletes and universities in California if Governor Newsom were to sign it.
With files from the Associated Press.
AirTalk invited the NCAA to participate in our discussion, but as of the airing of this segment we did not received a response to our request. Following the airing of our segment, we received the following statement from the NCAA:
The NCAA Board of Governors has monitored SB 206 as it has moved through the California legislative process. As we evaluate our next steps, we remain focused on providing opportunities and a level playing field for the nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.
We also invited Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott to participate, but the Pac-12 declined our interview request and sent us this statement:
The NCAA has formed a working group that is looking into the matter of student-athlete name, image and likeness, and this group is expected to complete its work this fall. So our view is that the most prudent course is for the California legislature to hold further action on its Fair Pay to Play Act pending the outcome of the NCAA’s work, which we believe will be very informative to this discussion. We all want to protect and support our student-athletes, and the Pac-12 has played a leadership role in national reforms for student-athletes over the past years. The question is what’s the best way to continue to support our student-athletes. We think having more information and informed views will be helpful.
Ramogi Huma, executive director of the National College Players Association, a nonprofit organization launched by UCLA football players that advocates for college athletes nationwide; he is also a former UCLA football player